Four key measurement and evaluation priorities for Asian brands & businesses

On the consumer front, the pandemic has only heightened the importance of brand alignment with personal values - an IPSOS study found that 64% of consumers in Singapore are generally willing to spend extra for a brand with an image that appeals to them.

Four key measurement and evaluation priorities for Asian brands & businesses
Khali Sakkas, Head of Insights, CARMA Asia

What comes to mind when you think of PR and Communications trends in the last year? Taking a look back, reputation, ESG, purpose, and employee engagement were key themes at the forefront of discussions.

90% of investors say they now attach greater importance to ESG performance in their decision-making than before the pandemic. In parallel, a Qualtrics study found that DEI initiatives have become top of mind, as a sense of belonging to a company and pride in a company's purpose were the strongest factors driving employee engagement. On the consumer front, the pandemic has only heightened the importance of brand alignment with personal values - an IPSOS study found that 64% of consumers in Singapore are generally willing to spend extra for a brand with an image that appeals to them.

These trends are set to gain more traction this year and they will evolve, creating new challenges and priorities for professional communicators. Communications measurement will play an important role and will need to adapt to support the changing needs of PR teams. I have highlighted the four biggest trends we are seeing in measurement this year below.

1. The AVE moves closer to extinction

Despite a global education initiative to eradicate the use of the AVE as a metric, it will still very much be on the “endangered list” of metrics. A number of organisations continue to use AVE as a legacy measurement metric or to compare exposure across multiple markets.

The AVE metric remains threatened by more insightful and meaningful metrics that highlight media activity success in terms of outputs and the real impact of PR. Using digitisation to analyse outcomes and collapsing organisational silos is essentially making it easier for measurement professionals to report on impact.

As reputation continues to be at the core of the PR function and as ESG gains increasing importance, AVEs won’t be able to capture the true value and resonance of ESG messaging, and the complexities of corporate reputation.

2. Single impact scores are making a return

Impact scores emerged as a key trend amongst clients in 2021 and continue to be a popular way to report in a concise and meaningful way. We’re seeing single performance scores with multiple variables having impact at the C-suite level.

Integrated campaigns are complex and multi-dimensional, resulting in fragmented and disconnected measurement between business units. Single impact scores are serving as the one, go-to metric that defines success and measures performance against competitors.

3. Internal communications is at the forefront

Talent has been one of the biggest challenges for organisations this last year, especially with The Great Resignation phenomenon impacting the global economy. One in nearly four Singapore respondents reported the intention to resign in the first half of 2022, according to Indeed. Microsoft research also found that as restrictions now allow for employees to return to the office, most want the best of both worlds – over 70% of employees prefer flexible remote work options to continue, while over 65% are craving more in-person time with their teams.

These challenges will bring internal metrics into focus. Measuring external communications will increasingly become just one piece of the puzzle.

Recently, we conducted a study on media trends in the big tech space and found that breaking news, which has the potential to cause damage to corporate reputation, is coming from within. This calls for businesses to have their fingers on the pulse on their internal communications and ensure that it matches with what’s being said externally.  This is especially true for the technology industries, as we’ve seen with Facebook’s (now Meta) internal document leak and Alibaba’s communication with internal communications on the intranet that went public.

4. The biggest disruptor in research is still social media

Social media will continue to enrich the measurement and analysis of PR effectiveness and tap into public and consumer sentiment. There will be a significant and rapid change in the turn-around time for market research surveys, with real-time conversations that provide a rich data source to analyse and run predictive analytics. Social media analysis will continue to disrupt traditional market research methods and as a result, we stand to benefit from faster results and campaign insights.

The role of measurement and evaluation in businesses will continue to evolve, especially as new technologies and digital platforms emerge. Most importantly, measurement and evaluation capabilities will deepen to deliver even more actionable insights and will serve a greater purpose for organisations looking to survive, thrive and respond to a fast-paced business environment that we see today.